The new Splice creator plans feature Astra, a new multi-engine Synthesizer plugin by Sharooz Raoofi (ex Audiaire) & Sinevibes, an easy-to-use drum sampler, tutorials, & more.
The past two years have clearly shown where the music tech software is headed. Moving away from buying to renting software. Roland Cloud, Splice, Slate Digital, Loopcloud, and many others. This new way of getting software is loved by many, others prefer to buy it. Personally, I also like the last one better.
Splice has today introduced new Creator plans with new content. This includes a new sampler as well as a powerful multi-engine Synthesizer that can take on Arturia Pigments, and others.
The big star of the new Splice subscription model is the Astra Synthesizer plugin developed by Sharooz Raoofi (ex Audiaire) and Artemiy Pavlov (Sinevibes). Astra is a multi-engine Synthesizer with two main, identical oscillators. Each one is configurable as a virtual analog, FM, granular, sampler, or wavetable oscillator.
FM for example, offers four carrier waveforms, with a user-loadable main modulator waveform and switchable lin/exp FM. No classic DX-7 algorithm but simplified that you get results quickly. The granular and sampler engines give you the option to load your own sample with up to 60 seconds, each. Not very long but it is enough for most sounds. The wavetable oscillator ships with factory single-cycle waveshapes from Sharrooz Raoofi’s own hardware collection or you can use your own waveforms.
The two main oscillators are supported by a sub-oscillator with five waveforms and a noise generator. Then, you get a multimode filter with different flavors as well as a comprehensive effects engine. And this comes from none other than the effect specialists of Sinevibes. It includes different effects like delay, tempo delay, reverb, compressor, chorus, and more. The interface also did the Sinevibes crew.
Astra’s modulation engine is very advanced and offers a lot of sound design options. A lot comes from the Audiaire plugins. It starts with two classic ADSR envelope generators as well as two LFOs. The latter has different waveforms but it gives you also the option to load your own waveforms what is very nice. These have up to 27 different rates, either synced to the DAW’s tempo or set to operate independently. Plus, you get a sample & hold generator that is fed with signals from LFO 1 and 2.
The most exciting thing about Astra is a macro sequencer. Here you can add any number of parameters to macro controllers (4 macros in total). This is nothing out of the ordinary and exists in any major synth release. However, these can also be automated within its own 32-step sequencer lane with a variety of modifiers. Each lane can run at its own unique rate, range, and a number of steps. With it, you can modulate a parameter swarm in one fell swoop and thus create very complex sound structures.
Lastly, you get a note sequencer that follows the same workflow as the macro sequencer with individual lanes for pitch, velocity, and gate. Definitely an impressive plugin with lots of deep ideas. And yes a good alternative to Arturia Pigments.
Splice Beatmaker Plugin
The second new plugin is called Beatmaker and has a much simpler structure compared to Astra. It’s a lightweight sampler with a sleek 4 x 2 grid that supports up to 8 different sounds simultaneously. For every sound, you have a page where you adjust your sounds using various parameters including volume, pitch, gain, panning, effects (reverb, delay, distortion, filters…), and waveform position. The latter gives you the option to find the perfect point in your samples.
In addition to the drum pads, you can also trigger the sounds conveniently with the built-in sequencer that has up to 32-step steps. Once you have finished your beat, you have two options to export them. Either by rendering it to an audio clip to preserve or further manipulate it as an audio track or by dragging the MIDI pattern to your DAW.
Also a nice plug-in, but one that is not really new compared to other samplers. But it certainly scores in its simplicity and workflow.
Splice Bridge & Skills
The new plans also include Splice Bridge, a new tool that connects Splice Sounds with your DAW in a more powerful way than ever before says the developers. It allows you to match your samples’ key and tempo to your track before your commit to buying them. This saves your time, credits, and your creative energy.
Also, it ships with Skills, new weekly tutorials to help you learn how to get the most out of your tools, push past creative blocks and avoid a graveyard full of unfinished projects.
As many know, I’m not a fan of subscription models. But Splice’s new plans sound tempting especially the new Astra Synthesizer. It’s a shame that this is not available as a purchase.
Splice Astra is available now as part of the new Creator and Creator+ subscriptions for $19.99 USD respectively $29.99 USD per month. A 14 days trial is available for free that gives you access to the new Astra Synthesizer and Beatmaker plugins.
More information here: Splice